Transparency Advisory Board: Recommendation for implementation of an Open Government website to provide open access to public data

November 27, 2013 Introduction
Senate Bill 283 requires the Utah Transparency !visory Boar! "T B# to stu!y the establishment o$ an in$ormation %ebsite to provi!e access to public !ata an! ma&e a recommen!ation to the le'islature re'ar!in' its implementation( )rovi!in' open 'overnment !ata o$$ers many potential bene$its to the State, inclu!in' 'eneratin' ne% 'overnment e$$iciencies, provi!in' a hi'her !e'ree o$ public accountability, an! stimulatin' economic 'ro%th( *n creatin' this recommen!ation, the T B has revie%e! national tren!s an! !evelopments as %ell as e+istin' %ebsites an! !ata availability in the state o$ Utah( ,ver the past !eca!e, the state o$ Utah has establishe! itsel$ as a lea!er amon' the states in the %ay it utili-es technolo'y to !eliver services to citi-ens( .rom 2008 to 2012, Utah %as one o$ only t%o states to receive an / 0 'ra!e in the biannual 1i'ital States Survey publishe! by the 2enter $or 1i'ital 3overnment( *n a stu!y by the 2enter $or )ublic )olicy an! !ministration, it %as reveale! that the state save! an avera'e o$ over 413 per transaction $or business that %as con!ucte! online( Utah5s success in !i'ital 'overnment has save! the state millions o$ !ollars an! has helpe! establish the state as a technolo'y lea!er( Base! on our revie%, the T B recommen!s that open(utah('ov, a component o$ the State6s utah('ov %ebsite, be a!apte! to meet the 'oals an! ob7ectives o$ e$$iciency, accountability, an! economic 'ro%th( Un!er the !irection o$ the Utah Transparency !visory Boar!, this sin'le %ebsite shoul! prominently $eature capabilities that inclu!e8 Financial Transparency. Such as is currently available $or State an! local public entities on the Transparent(Utah('ov %ebsite( Open access to public data repositories. 1evelope! to provi!e easy !o%nloa! capabilities, !ynamic $ilterin', an! automate! pro'rammer inter$ace services to ma+imi-e utili-ation an! promote re9use( A single point of access for GRAMA requests and access to open records. *n a!!ition to these primary $eatures, the %ebsite shoul! also provi!e lin& capabilities to other e+istin' repositories o$ public in$ormation, inclu!in' maps, photo'raph collections, la%s an! re'ulations, etc( that currently e+ist on a'ency %ebsites( ,pen !ata an! recor!s shoul! be base! on a no9%ron' !oor approach to 'overnment an! has the potential to enhance access to other e+istin' %ebsites( The public shoul! not have to be e+perts on 'overnment to $in! the in$ormation an! !ata they are see&in'(


Figure 1. :elationship o$ open(utah('ov to other State ,pen 3overnment Sites

Objectives and Priorities Financial Transparency
The State5s $inancial transparency %ebsite currently inclu!es $inancial recor!s $rom Utah5s cities an! to%ns, counties, special !istricts, school !istricts, an! hi'her e!ucation, as %ell as all state a'encies( ;ith over <= million recor!s available, it has become a valuable resource $or users( Transparent(Utah('ov shoul! be ma!e more interestin' an! relevant $or the avera'e citi-en( The current site is !eep on !ata but !oes not sho% ho% that !ata is relevant to citi-ens( The boar! shoul! analy-e %ays to provi!e visuali-ations an! in$o'raphics that a!! more conte+t to the !ata( 3eolocation services coul! even help provi!e more relevance(

*n creatin' a ne% %ay o$ accessin' 'overnment !atasets, the state shoul! $ollo% best practices in promotin' open access an! interoperability( Some o$ the best practices $or !eliverin' open !ata inclu!e8 • • • The ability to $ilter !ata base! on user9!e$ine! criteria( The ability to e+port !ata to a variety o$ use$ul $ormats such as +ls, csv, p!$, etc( The capability to embe! !e$ine! !ata sets in other %ebsites %hile accessin' the source !ata(

The current policy o$ the Unite! States 'overnment is that open an! machine9rea!able !ata is the ne% !e$ault $or 'overnment in$ormation( This policy reco'ni-es not only the value o$ !ata to promote e$$iciencies in 'overnment, but also as a tool $or innovators to create ne% pro!ucts an! services( ;hile much o$ the !ata the state collects $alls into this same cate'ory an! shoul! be publicly available, it is also critical to ensure that privacy an! security la%s are respecte! an! a!here! to( mo!ern open !ata portal %ill provi!e ma7or enhancements to the public in the %ay they are able to access an! utili-e !ata( • )rovi!e multiple !o%nloa! options in the most convenient $ormats(


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2reate rich visual conte+t %ith maps an! charts( *ntro!uce )*s $or real9time !ata access to selecte! !ata sets( >elp i!enti$y opportunities $or !ata re9use in the $ast 'ro%in' mobile app mar&et( Stimulate 'reater citi-en participation(

Records Access Priorities
The 3overnment :ecor!s ccess an! ?ana'ement ct "3: ? # provi!es 'ui!in' principles $or recor!s access( The le'islative intent o$ the 3: ? !eclares that the @e'islature reco'ni-es the /public5s ri'ht o$ access to in$ormation concernin' the con!uct o$ the public5s business0 as %ell as the /ri'ht o$ privacy in relation to personal !ata 'athere! by 'overnmental entities0 "Utah 2o!e A33929102#( central portal $or the 3: ? open recor!s request an! appeals process %ill provi!e a uni$orm proce!ure $or all state a'encies an! provi!e !irect access to other 'overnmental entities5 open recor!s request proce!ures( The rchives5 3: ? an! ,pen 3overnment %ebpa'e coul! a!apt its e+istin' $unctions $or this process an! provi!e connectivity to the state5s certi$ie! recor!s o$$icers5 contact in$ormation, a list actively a!ministere! online by the rchives( • )riority shoul! be public recor!s that !ocument accountability o$ 'overnment( Ordinances and policies >i'hest priority to co!es an! or!inances o$ all 'overnmental entitiesB secon!ary priority to $ormal statements o$ policy an! proce!ures o$ public interest o$ all 'overnmental entities( Election data :e!istrictin' !ata( Business actions .inal purchasin' contracts an! a%ar!s, an!, subsequently, more over time( egislati!ely required reports Speci$ie! reports require! by statute an! submitte! to @e'islature, 3overnor, an! State u!itorB !ata setsB an! statistical stu!ies( • • The state shoul! start %ith public in$ormation alrea!y in !i'ital $ormats( )ublication sche!ules shoul! be applie! to online recor! sets( Not all public in$ormation is o$ en!urin' value, an! that o$ temporary value shoul! 'o o$$line to prevent an overloa! o$ searchable !ata systems( They shoul! not e+cee! the le'al retention sche!ule( )ublic in$ormation available throu'h a portal shoul! be coor!inate! an! in!e+e!(

T B recommen!s ei'ht steps %hen implementin' an open !ata strate'y $or 'overnment( The state o$ Utah has been %or&in' on some o$ these steps since $irst intro!ucin' the ori'inal !ata(utah('ov in 200<( Some o$ these steps have been a!apte! $rom the Open Data Field Guide1 as a potential recommen!ation $or a ne% open !ata mo!el in Utah(
1 Open Data Field Guide, Socrata,


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1. 4.

#tart #$all. &$ple$ent an Open Data Pilot 'it( ne' tools and ser!ices. Focus on data and records t(at en(ance Go!ern$ent Accountability. &n!ol!e De!elopers. State an! local a'encies %ill nee! to %or& %ith those that best &no% an! un!erstan! e+istin' !ata sources( Buil! a community o$ !ata ste%ar!s in or!er to maintain a sustainable open !ata portal( &ncrease Agency Participation. lthou'h it may be important to start small, the 'oal %ill nee! to inclu!e e$$orts to involve many a'encies at both the state an! local levels( Opti$i-e for Efficiencies and .ost. Federate Data 'it( .ities0 .ounties0 and #tates. *n a!!ition to local sources in Utah, most !ata e+ten!s across state boun!aries( *n many cases, it may be help$ul to partner %ith nei'hborin' states an! $e!eral a'encies such as the B@?, .orest Service, or 2ensus( Ensure an intuiti!e0 easy2to2use interface t(at $eets 3eb accessibility standards and guidelines. #trengt(en records electronic infor$ation $anage$ent progra$s for state and local agencies. Be min!$ul o$ speciali-e! issues that impact local 'overnment(

The primary 'oal o$ stan!ar!s is to ma&e !ata more accessible an! to create inter$aces an! e+periences that ma&es !ata most use$ul to those %ho nee! it( This can best be accomplishe! %ith8 Data catalog interoperability. Stan!ar!i-e! catalo' schema allo%s $or universal !ata poolin'( Data portability based on standard data for$ats. The 'oal is to move to%ar! $ormats that !evelopers can use $or popular !ata sets, base! on real9%orl! e+amples an! collaboration bet%een !ata publishers( Application portability based on open data AP& standards. Stan!ar!i-e the application pro'rammin' inter$aces " )*s# use! to pro'rammatically access open !ata, usin' establishe! protocols( Guidelines The $ollo%in' 'ui!elines an! recommen!ations are propose!8 5nco$pressed data. 1ata shoul! be ma!e available in an uncompresse! $ormat %here possible( This 'ui!eline shoul! not be misconstrue! to preclu!e automatic compression in transit by ;eb servers an! clients(


5se non2proprietary0 open for$ats '(ere possible. )roprietary !ata $ormats are more li&ely to require speciali-e!, proprietary, an! sometimes costly so$t%are or tools( ,pen !ata shoul! use the most open $ormat that %ill reasonably provi!e the necessary structure( Use o$ open $ormats %ill potentially e+pan! access an! re!uce costs $or !ata users( C+amples o$ open $ormats inclu!e, but are not limite! to the $ollo%in'8 i2alen!ar v2ar! :ich Site Summary ":SS# 2omma9Separate! Dalues "2SD# Tab9Separate! Dalues "TSD# C+tensible ?ar&up @an'ua'e "E?@# FavaScript ,b7ect Notation "FS,N# :esource 1escription .ormat ":1.# Geyhole ?ar&up @an'ua'e "G?@# )1. $or Universal ccess ")1.HU # )1. $or rchive )1.H ,ther !e$acto stan!ar!s an! $ormats, such as C+cel "(+ls an! (+ls+#, $ormats %ill also be supporte!( Find .o$$on #tandards. ;here common, open stan!ar!s $or !ata are not available, the State o$ Utah, throu'h the mechanism o$ the State o$ Utah 1ocument C+chan'e Stan!ar! or a similar bo!y shoul! recommen! common $ormats $or !i$$erent !ata types( Pro!ide useful $etadata. ?eta!ata ma&es !ata use$ul by allo%in' users to search, lin& to other !ata sources, an! cate'ori-e( ;here open meta!ata stan!ar!s such as the 1ublin 2ore are applicable, they shoul! be use! in pre$erence to proprietary or close! meta!ata $ormats( Preser!e structure. )re$erence shoul! be 'iven to $ormats that preserve as much o$ the !ata structure as possible( .or e+ample, a calen!ar ma!e available in the i2alen!ar $ormat has more potential !o%nstream uses than the same calen!ar in an >T?@, )1., or ;or! !ocument( 6TTP0 5R&s0 6TM and ot(er 3eb #tandards. The use o$ ;eb stan!ar!s $or ma&in' !ata available is pre$erre! to other transport me!ia( AP&s. ;here applicable, !ata shoul! be ma!e available as a :CST$ul )* that preserves structure(

Financial Requirements and Impacts
lthou'h many elements nee!e! to create a ne% open !ata portal are alrea!y in place, the State shoul! e+pect to !e!icate some ne% resources to ma+imi-e the bene$its o$ open !ata( The T B recommen!s the a!!ition o$ a central !ata coor!inator in the state%i!e e3overnment o$$ice( The !ata coor!inator coul! provi!e several valuable $unctions8


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2oor!inate the implementation o$ !ata stan!ar!s approve! by the boar!( *!enti$y 'aps in !ata an! in$ormation available on the portal( )rovi!e recommen!ations $or ne% stan!ar!s an! relate! !ata technolo'ies as they evolve( 2oor!inate an! train a'encies in the use o$ !ata mana'ement tools inclu!in' those use! by the portal(

The state shoul! also purchase so$t%are, or a clou! service, that supports the !elivery o$ open !ata to multiple $ormats( lto'ether, it is estimate! that the cost o$ a state%i!e !ata coor!inator, so$t%are, an! associate! stora'e %ill cost appro+imately 42=0,000 per year( The implementation o$ open !ata %ill also require a level o$ investment $rom state an! local a'encies to loa! !ata sets to the ne% site( *n or!er to $ully implement the public recor!s search, State rchives %oul! require appro+imately 42=0,000 per year $or the $ollo%in'8 • • • • T%o a!!itional .TC at rchives at a cost o$ appro+imately 4A0,000H.TC *ncrease! server an! stora'e capacity "=0TB %ith 10I annual 'ro%th# ,n'oin' pro'rammin' an! maintenance support8 47=,000Hyear !!itional support $rom a'ency recor!s o$$icers

Public Benefits and Opportunities
Because so many public an! private entities have associate! a hi'h value %ith the !elivery o$ open 'overnment !ata, many ne% tools have been !evelope! that $acilitate better %ays o$ !eliverin' open !ata( The state shoul! be'in to levera'e these tools an! enhance opportunities $or the private sector to a!! ne% value to 'overnment !ata( Base! upon e+perience at the .e!eral level an! in states such as *llinois, ,re'on, an! Ne% Jor&, there is a si'ni$icant potential :eturn on *nvestment ":,*# $rom open !ata( llo%in' private sector companies to use !ata an! other relevant in$ormation enables the creation o$ applications that many a'encies have neither the time or bu!'et to complete( *t is important that the state continue to invest in ne% a!vancements, inclu!in' open !ata( The state has the opportunity to ta&e some o$ the most use$ul e+periences $rom other states an! the $e!eral 'overnment an! provi!e one o$ the best ,pen 3overnment sites in the nation( ;ith the ri'ht tools in place, Utah can become even more e$$ective an! e$$icient, %hile openin' up a!!itional economic an! business !evelopment opportunities(


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